Aspen Skiing Co. mum on price of single-day lift ticket
ASPEN – The Aspen Skiing Co. unveiled a lift ticket pricing plan this week designed to compare favorably with major competitors like Vail, but the Skico wouldn’t divulge its single-day ticket price for fear of getting undercut.
The Skico has a complex pricing plan for four-, five-, six- and seven-day lift tickets. The season is divided into five periods when the lift ticket price varies. Significant discounts are offered from the walk-up window price when multi-day tickets are purchased at least seven days in advance.
The message to consumers, said Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle, is “don’t walk up to the window and buy a lift ticket.”
The Skico is offering advance purchase discounts for the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period for the first time since 2003. A discount program was cobbled together last year to spur business for the holidays, but this time the discounts are being offered well in advance.
“We’re trying to offer something that the competition’s not,” Hanle said.
The Skico’s holiday lift tickets for adults range in price from $348 for a four-day ticket or $87 per day to $581 for a seven-day ticket or $83 per day.
Those represent modest savings from the walk-up price of the same tickets during the holidays. However, it does make Aspen’s holiday pricing cheaper than Vail’s.
The four-day adult lift ticket at Vail over the holidays is $356 and the seven-day ticket price is $623. There are no discounts offered by Vail for advance purchases over the holidays, according to the ski area’s website.
Hanle said the holiday discounts are being offered because the Skico is concerned about the amount of business on the books. “I think it would be fair to say there’s concern over the entire season with bookings,” he said.
Aspen and Vail are playing cat-and-mouse with their single-day lift ticket prices. Neither resort has released those prices. Vail charged the most last winter at $97 during peak season. Aspen was right behind at $96.
Hanle said the Skico’s prices of one-, two- and three-day lift tickets won’t be released until right before Christmas. The secrecy is for competitive reasons, he said. Skico officials are worried that if they set their price now, competitors will adjust their rate and charge less. In this business climate, the publicity for the highest lift ticket could be devastating, Hanle said. “It’s a different business environment now.”
Like Skico leaders before them, the current administration is concerned that the single-day price garners more attention than it is worth. Very few skiers pay the single-day, walk-up price. Yet that price receives media attention and shapes opinions of consumers.
That reasoning suggests that the Skico could spur positive publicity by announcing that it was holding the line or dropping the price of its single-day lift ticket. Hanle said the publicity has to be weighed against competitive disadvantage. Announcing too early allows the competition to react, he said.
The multi-day ticket pricing is flat or up by a modest amount, Hanle said. He cautioned against drawing conclusions on the single-day ticket price.